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Tri-service emergency control room goes live for Surrey, West and East Sussex

A tri-service emergency control room for Surrey, West and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Services has gone live today (Wednesday 17 November).

Surrey’s control room originally started taking calls for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) in December 2019.

In January last year, East Sussex Fire Authority made the decision to join the tri-service control room, within a shared control centre based in Surrey. Teams have been working on aligning the services, ensuring capability and localised knowledge training for several months.

A high-tech secondary control room has been completed at SFRS new Headquarters in Reigate as well as upgrades to the primary control room.

Steve Owen-Hughes, Chief Fire Officer of SFRS, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting call taking and mobilising for East Sussex now as well as Surrey and West Sussex. The heightened partnership working paired with our tremendous people and new ways of working will increase resilience and staff numbers as well as better value for money – thus benefiting all three services and residents.

“Our mobilising control system is state of the art, tried and tested and has the capacity to take a high volume of emergency calls.

“I want to take this opportunity to really thank all colleagues and partners for their dedication and hard work to see this project through and make it a success.”

Dawn Whittaker, Chief Fire Officer of ESFRS, said: “Not only do the operators answer 999 calls from the public, giving advice and support to those in distress, they also ensure the right resources such as fire engines and specialist teams are sent to the scene. This joint venture means all three service can learn from each other’s operational knowledge and expertise, and support each other, which in turn benefits visitors, businesses and residents in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove. Change of this scale is not always easy and it is only right to recognise the hard work of those in our control team who have continued to deliver a professional service during this time.”  

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Chief Fire Officer of WSFRS, said: “We have always worked closely with our neighbouring emergency service partners to help keep all of our residents safe in the event of an emergency, and so I am delighted that East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have taken the exciting step to join our Joint Fire Control in partnership with Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. This project represents a significant investment in all of our communities and will ensure we remain resilient and best placed to serve our residents for many years to come.”

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